The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest by Steig Larsson

Well, I’m done.  I’ve knocked the Millennium Series off now, and they great!  It seems that if you start talking about these books in a public place it makes it really easy to strike up conversation, everyone is reading them.  The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest is the third and final one – if you don’t count the unpublished one they have found on the authors computer, but can’t publish because of disputes over who should be paid the royalties.  Steig Larsson is dead now, no more fabulous books to keep me up late at night – till 2am a few nights, such a shame.

Actress Noomi Rapace who plays Lisbeth Salander

This third one I found, in the beginning, took about a 100 pages or so for me to sort out all the characters and get them ordered in my mind.  Lots of names all beginning with the same letters and sounding the same in my mind, but, this is the book that pulls all the threads together, you couldn’t possibly stop after the second book.  This one gives you closure.  You have been reading a story where lots is going on and there is so much action that you don’t need to think too much about how it all fits together, but in this one you get lots of ah ha moments as you find out exactly who was double crossing who and why.

If you want to watch a preview of this movie, which is out in Europe but a long way off here, given that the movie of the second one isn’t even here yet then go and have a look here (YouTube Link).  Have a look at Mary Whipple’s blog for lots of links to the videos and info.  I also like this interview with the actress who plays Lisbeth Salander.

There has been a bit of discussion at school about whether the books are too violent to have on the shelves.  I love this kind of discussion, and it’s great to get people talking about these kind of books because often it is the things that make some readers uncomfortable that also make them have to think about what it really is they object to.  In the case of these books it is the violence usually that they cite, but I also think that the frankly written sexuality in the books is something that makes people really uncomfortable.  Lisbeth’s fluid sexuality is really well written I think, and the fact that there is well written lesbian sex in the books – written by a man – makes some people really uncomfortable.  There is also heterosexual sex, violent sex and rape in the books, but if you ban the books for that reason then you are really missing the point.  These books, I think, are about power, control and manipulation by the state.  There is blatant, state sanctioned misogyny in the story as a kind of back story, the original title was Men who hate women, and the author had spent many years researching Sweden’s dark and seedy side. It seems that a lot of what he knew to be true, about how the State manipulated the media and managed to control the lives of ordinary citizens is written into these books as a fictional situation.  I imagine this is not particular to Sweden, and you have to remember that they are fiction.  Maybe fiction based on some real situations but fiction nonetheless.  See the post about the other one in the series here.

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One comment

  1. Interesting debate about whether or not the books are too violent to have on the shelves.
    When I was reading the first of the series, I photocopied the cover and put it on my classroom wall as a recommendation. And I hyped it up- really hyped it up- to my seniors. Then I hit the violent rape and wasn’t sure how I felt… I am wondering what students will think about it, what assumptions they’ll bring to the table about and if they will even find it as upsetting as I did. And who are they going to talk to about the pretty big issues it raises?

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